Julia Fordham Great album!
Porcelain Great album too.
Swept Yawn.
Falling Forward Way too overprocessed
East West Finally, back in fine songwriting form. Voice has changed a bit though.
More of a collectors item, really.

Going chronologically, Julia is the third 'favourite' that I still love to listen to today. I read about this album in the Straits Times as the reviewer liked it a lot and her photo of her in the red dress fronted the review. Still believing in the Straits Times then, I went to get the album (on cassette of course). I was immediately fascinated by her 'fruity' contralto. Its one of those voices you have to listen to to believe. :)

Perhaps not as brilliant a songwriter as some others, her songs are definitely far superior to any formularistic pop song. All her best songs (except for the excellent anti-apartheid song Happy Ever After) are generally love songs, but looking at the lyrics you can see that at least she put some thought into it, and the songs do indeed have certain things that mark them as hers (would be interesting to compare her to another songwriter who writes such great love-themed songs -- Amanda McBroom).

Either of her first 2 albums are worthy recommendations. Listening to the US presses, they have quite decent recording quality for albums of that time ('87 & '89). More importantly, there is a bias towards acoustic instruments with synthesised music playing a background role. Also, for the first album, there are 2 wonderful piano+vocal pieces (Invisible Wall & Behind Closed Doors) and on Porcelain, theres 1 similar piece (Towerblock). These kinds of pieces are usually audiophile favourites as well. But more importantly, the albums all feature songs written by her, and they are really good. (though, she only seems to be able to write about love etc, so I'll have to mark her down for that).

The next album, Swept, is basically a disappointment containing very lightweight stuff. Listenable because of her voice, but nothing much else. Also, the sound quality is not that great, sounding very similar to Porcelain. After that, we have Falling Forward, which features improved sound quality, but tons of synthesisers and disappointing songs.

It was only in '97, when she released East West did she break out of this rut. Somehow, all the songs in the album are pretty good, and some are superb, like the title song, East West. Her voice has changed over 10 years, but its still a great voice, just different.